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Archive for September, 2020

Socially Safe Halloween Masks Craft

Your Halloween celebrations might be physically distanced this year, but wearing a face covering for the festivities doesn’t mean your child has to compromise on a cool costume. Here’s how you can make your child’s face mask part of their trick-or-treating gear. 

 Materials 

  • Non-toxic foam sheets 
  • Washable glue sticks  
  • Hot glue gun 
  • Disposable paper masks 
  • Paper straws 

 Directions 

  1. Talk with your child to decide what kind of mask you should make. The possibilities are endless. If you need a little inspiration, take a look at this video for some ideas!
  2. To create an eye mask, help your child cut out a basic mask shape from a sheet of foam. Cut out foam shapes for your child to glue onto the mask with a glue stick.  
  3. Use the glue gun to attach a paper straw to the side of the eye mask as a handle. Only adults should use the glue gun. 
  4. Cut additional foam pieces to create a mouth for the face covering, and glue them in place with the glue gun.  

Now, your child is ready for a fun and healthy Halloween!  

Are you looking for more safe and spooktacular Halloween ideas? Check out this article on the Goddard School blog featuring some fun activities beyond trick-or-treating! 

Sensory Bottles – Infant


ACTIVITY 

Fill a clear wide-mouth plastic bottle or container halfway with water (you can add food coloring if you’d like). Then work with your baby to collect items to place in the container. Gather twigs, pebbles, blades of grass, soil and whatever else you would like to add. Once you add the objects, seal the container using hot glue or tape (check for leaks). Give your baby the bottle and talk about what is inside, shake the bottle, listen and describe the sounds. *Keep a close watch on your baby in case of choking.* 

LEARNING SKILLS  

Science and Nature, Fine Motor Skills 

Materials  

Plastic bottle or clear container, glue or tape, natural objects 

Tricks, Treats and Spooky Sweets – 10 Creative Ideas for a Physically Distanced Halloween

mom with two toddlers with halloween bucket and decorcations

Halloween is going to look a little different this year as we follow physical distancing practices. Though children may not be trick-or-treating in your community, you can try the creative activities below to get your family into the Halloween spirit.  

  1. Mystery Bowls – Set up a spooky sensory experience for your children by filling bowls with cold spaghetti, grapes, gelatin and more. Blindfold your children and have them guess the foods as they feel them. For each correct guess, give your children a treat, such as pieces of candy, stickers or other fun items. 
  2. Monster Footprints – Cut out monster-shaped footprints from construction paper, and lay them out in a path throughout your house or yard. Have your children go on a monster hunt that leads to a special Halloween treat at the end of the path.  
  3. Ghost Toast – This deliciously spooky recipe is perfect for breakfast or a snack. Use a ghost-shaped cookie cutter to cut out a few pieces of bread, coat one side with butter and cinnamon sugar, and then toast them in the oven. Add miniature chocolate chips to make eyes and a mouth as a finishing touch, and enjoy!  
  4. “Boo” Someone – Help your children spread some Halloween fun! Leave an anonymous ghost-shaped note and a treat for your children telling them that they’ve been “boo-ed” with instructions to pass it on and “boo” three other friends or family members. 
  5. Bat Snacks – This Halloween snack is perfect for little fruit bats! Trace a bat-shaped cookie cutter on a piece of black construction paper, cut the bat shapes out and tape them to the end of wooden skewers. Help your children put cut-up fruit pieces onto the skewer, and enjoy the healthy treat. 
  6. Want My Mummy Game – This is a perfect way to get the whole family involved in Halloween fun! Group your household into two teams, and provide each with a roll of toilet paper. When you say go, each team will wrap a team member up like a mummy. The first team to finish the roll and wrap the mummy wins! 
  7. Monster Mash Freeze Dance – For active little ones, you can turn on the Monster Mash and have them freeze in monster poses whenever the music stops. 
  8. Spider Dance Game – This game is great for developing balance, especially in toddlers. Use painter’s tape to create a spider web on the floor, and sprinkle toy spiders in the holes of the web. Let your children walk on the web and pick up as many spiders as they can without losing their balance and stepping off the lines. 
  9. Halloween Car Parade – Try holding this physically distanced alternative to trunk or treat by coordinating with your neighbors and organizing a special Halloween car parade. Decorate your car, dress your children up in their costumes, buckle them in and drive around your neighborhood so everyone can enjoy the festivities. Take it a step further by organizing a contest with a prize for the best-decorated car! 
  10. Halloween Scavenger Hunt – Create a competition among your friends and family with this spooky scavenger hunt. Have your children dress up and take a family walk around the neighborhood as you take pictures or videos to record what you find from this list: 
  • Pretend spider webs 
  • A graveyard scene 
  • A ghost that looks like it’s flying 
  • A decoration that makes noise 
  • A real haystack 
  • A black cat 
  • Two scary skeletons 
  • A witch’s hat or broom 
  • A Halloween treat 
  • Black and orange lights 
  • A funny costume 
  • Two of the same costume 
  • A scary carved pumpkin 
  • A silly carved pumpkin 
  • A strobe light 
  • A pretend bat 
  • A spooky sign 
  • Something sparkly 
  • Three pieces of candy corn 
  • A skull 

Even though the Halloween celebrations will be physically distanced, your children can still have a blast! 

 

Advice That Never Gets Old – Goddard Grandparents Weigh in with Words of Wisdom

cartoon grandparents with speech bubble

With age comes wisdom. That’s what they say, right? For the grandparents in the Goddard family, that’s certainly the case – they have kindly agreed to share a few pieces of universally helpful advice that have served them well over the years in the hopes that they could serve you and your children well, too.

  1. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Yes, the Golden Rule is as true now as it ever was. This advice is incredibly simple to follow: if you want to be treated kindly, then treat others kindly.
  2. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Which is to say that absolutely nothing good comes of saying mean things to people. We’re all human, though, and we all have unkind thoughts sometimes. If you have something rude to say, keep it to yourself. Or if you really need to get a mean thought out of your head, write it down on a piece of paper, tear it up and throw the pieces away. That way, nobody gets hurt.
  3. Nothing happens if you don’t show up. Be there for the people and things you care about. To create a full life, show up for school, show up for work, show up for your friends and show up for your family members. These actions can make all the difference in the world.

What are some sage pieces of advice your grandparents have given you?

 

Our Little Ones and Sugar

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By Jack Maypole, Contributing Writer and Goddard School Educational Advisory Board Member

As a pediatrician, we talk a great deal about childrenfood and children’s growth. For the vast majority of children, this is a topic easily broached by asking what their favorite foods are (pizza and tacos reign supreme) and what they like to drink (many say water, actually, and only a few admit they guzzle juice or soda). It is a fun way to start a conversation on a very broad and potentially complicated topic.  

After more than a couple of decades in practice, I get it. Food is love. Food is culture. Food is fun. Food is delicious. As North Americans, our love of food comes with a rather demanding sweet tooth. Along with this inclination comes parents who are rightfully concerned about their children’s sugar intake.  

I want to assure you, however, that many times the concern isn’t necessary – parents are well informed and smart about offering children nutritious foods. However, the lure of sugar is strong in children, and sometimes it’s hard to say no to those precious, pleading faces. While limiting sugar may seem daunting at times because it’s in just about everything, there are two takeaway messages we should remember: 

  1. Children are not destined to turn into cupcakes or refuse to eat anything but tablespoons of sugarno matter what Mary Poppins says. Has anyone verified her medical license?  
  2. We can help children develop healthy habits and reduce the amount of sugar in their dietscreate sugar hacks, if you will  when considering a tasty snack, confection, fine beverage or dessert.   

(Sort of a chew on this, eschew that, right?) 

I’ll channel a chat I have with parents who are concerned about their child’s weight. Ideally, we’ve been having this conversation all the way along: limiting sweet snacks as you are able and encouraging a balanced diet. It sounds easy, but if you ever walk into a supermarket, there are a lot of options competing for (and winning over) children’s taste buds. It is our role as grownups to push back on the siren calls of cupcakes and Sour Patch Kids and to set some limit, somewhere.  

I am not one to say never: never dessert, never candy, never soda. Absolute vows tend to fail absolutely. I am more about saying *sometimes* for sugary foods and drinks versus not allowing them at all. Should one eat ice cream for every meal? No, that is absurd, and children get it. Should one have more than a cup of soda or juice a day? The answer here is no, but it may require some explanation. Having juice or soda sometimes, but not all the time, can be okayas long as a child eats balanced meals overall for the day. 

So, if you are setting up a menu for a few days, how could you swap in some healthy alternatives instead of having frosted sugar bombs for dinner?  

Here are a few ideas:  

Hot days will continue well into September, so it may be handy to have a cool and smart alternative to sugary popsicles. Aren’t 100% juice popsicles better than the alternative because they’re natural? Great try, marketers, but no. Many products have additional sweeteners. One might do better to blend some fresh fruit (mixed berries, say, or mango or peach) and put the mixture in an ice cube tray. Delish.    

Is the snack cabinet full of cookies and tasty, carb-loaded sugary items? The best approach to this category is to limit how much fun food you purchase. If you don’t have it in stock, then they can’t senselessly nosh on it. Instead, put a bowl of fresh fruit that is in season on the kitchen table as appropriate for your children’s ages, including bananasapples, peaches or a small pile of washed berries.  

I might go one step further and help your preschoolers work with a peeler to learn how to peel an apple. Can they peel the whole skin in one go? Probably not, but trying can be a fun challenge. Just be sure to limit their attempts to one bit of fruit at a time so you don’t walk into the kitchen to see a pile of naked fruit. A grownup can slice the fruit into appropriate pieces for rapid consumption. 

Beverages are an area where there is some latitude. I advise parents to avoid buying juice or soda altogether if it is too much of a temptation. (If you do buy OJ, for example, be sure to buy the variety with calcium and vitamin D supplements.) For children over two years old, 2% milk is fine, within reason. For you fans out there, chocolate milk is a SUGARY drink, best considered almost like a soda for all the glucose it has in there. Drinking two or three cups of cow’s milk a day is ideal for growing, but many children take far less than that, taking water instead, I find. Flavored seltzer can be a great option instead of sugary sodas. Sugarfree juices like Crystal Lite and diet sodas are a bit controversial (the longterm effects of the artificial sweeteners remain an area of concern) but may be a reasonable concession for some families. 

Then, there is dessert. “Should we let children eat dessert? I get asked. Yes, in moderation in terms of amount and frequency. For example, if you have a dessert after dinner of blueberries in a bowl of milk, then no problem. If a child has a hankering for a bowl of ice cream and hot fudge every day, I’d think that through, in terms of how that fits with a child’s or family’s profile. For most children, though, having an occasional bowl or cone of ice cream or some other sugary fare is not an issue.  

I will say that I’d encourage children to eat a reasonable portion of their dinner BEFORE they tuck into a sweet aftermeal snack. Some children get overly clever at this sort of meal replacement and push away their plate and eat a double helping of the afterdinner treat 

Bookstores, cookbooks, family filing cabinets and the internet (such as ChopChopFamily.org – Recipes) are full of ideas for balanced meals and less sugary options for our children. I think we all will be more successful if we think holistically about how our children eat across the days and the weeks. Are they eating a balance of protein, fat and some carbs? Are we offering them, to the extent possible, fresh foods and options that are lessoften sweetened or enriched with corn syrup? Once we have an idea of what we want to offer them, it is important to look at one’s cabinets (or secret candy stashes from last Halloween) and understand where all of their calories are coming from. 

Work with your children to understand their favorite foods, and work with them on a Sunday evening to build a menu for the week using their input for some of the entries (let the children take turns choosing a topfive food for dinner one night each week) and build on their choices and preferences. Fried chicken is okay. Fried Oreos may not be.  

With this in mind, we can get back to the basics that make eating together an occasion of love, culture, togetherness and joy, without the sugar high to follow if you are lucky!  

Bon appétit.